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Curious 4-year-old banned from a doughnut shop for being “rude

Kids say some pretty embarrassing, off-the-wall things. But should a 4-year-old be banned from a doughnut shop for asking an innocent question?

The most embarrassing parenting moment

Rebecca Denham and her 4-year-old son Justin were at their favorite local doughnut store when the worst words ever popped out of the little boy’s mouth. “Are you having a baby?” he wondered aloud to another customer, who wasn’t actually pregnant.

Denham was, as you can imagine, totally mortified. She apologized and the woman said it wasn’t a problem, but the store managers didn’t agree. The next time they tried to enter the store, employees allegedly blocked the door and shouted at them to go away. The reason? Because Justin was rude.

Kids can come across as massive jerks

OK. I get it. Kids are brutally honest and it takes time to teach what is socially appropriate. My kids have said plenty of things out loud that I would have preferred they had kept quiet. My first, for example, was particularly prolific. He talked about the size and shape of random strangers with gusto, and it seemed to take a long time to hammer home the lessons I hoped to share with him. I will never, ever forget that feeling of major red-faced embarrassment.

If you’ve experienced it, you know that it sucks for everyone involved. The good news is that people often do understand where the questions are coming from. It also becomes an important teaching moment for parents. Little children aren’t being rude, and Justin — who is the same age as my youngest — had no malice in his heart.

What’s next? Banning toddlers who say “poop?”

Banning a mother and her child for his curiosity is so over the top I don’t even know where to begin. Did they hope to publicly shame them? Did they intend to send a message to the other customers? I can picture it now — a store planning meeting where managers intone, “Hey, make sure kids in the store don’t say anything rude, even if they’re 4 and have no idea what rude means.” How is that logical? Where do they draw the line? A toddler talks about poop, and she’s booted out the door because it’s disgusting. See where this is going?

The employees who kicked the mother and son pair out of the store probably upset the boy, and this will become an unpleasant memory for the lad. Denham said that she has used this experience as a teaching moment, and they plan to take their doughnut dollars elsewhere.

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